During tonight's presidential debate, moderator Candy Crowley corrected Mitt Romney's false claim that President Obama did not refer to the September 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya as an act of terrorism the day after the attack.
Crowley was right, and Romney was wrong: In his September 12 remarks, the president said: "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America." Despite this, conservatives in the media are insisting that Obama never said that.
Fox News host Eric Bolling:
Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin:
Blogger Jim Hoft:
Both Malkin and Hoft linked to a September 30 Commentary blog post by Alana Goodman arguing that "at no point" in Obama's remarks responding to the Benghazi attack "was it clear that he was using that term to describe the attack in Benghazi." Instead, argued Goodman, the line might have been "just a generic, reassuring line he'd added into a speech which did take place, after all, the day after the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks." Even though Obama mentioned the four Americans killed in Benghazi in the very next line.
That makes little sense and is a reed far too thin to stand on. But it's good enough for Fox News and the conservative blogosphere.
Predictably, Fox News is echoing the misleading defense of Romney. During an interview with Romney surrogate John Sununu, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that when Obama referenced "acts of terror," he was "talking about September 11, 2001. He doesn't talk about Benghazi being an act of terror." Hannity then immediately aired video contradicting his supposed "fact check" of Obama:
Fox News host Bret Baier also tried to discredit the fact that Obama referred to the Benghazi attack as an act of terror. During Fox's coverage of the debate, Baier claimed that Obama wasn't "specifically speaking about Benghazi" when he referred to the attack as an act of terror -- that he was speaking "generically."
Baier also faulted Obama for repeatedly referring to an anti-Islam video as a possible catalyst for the attack and for stressing that an investigation was ongoing.
Let me say at the outset that obviously our hearts are heavy this week -- we had a tough day a couple of days ago, for four Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Libya. Yesterday I had a chance to go over to the State Department to talk to friends and colleagues of those who were killed. And these were Americans who, like so many others, both in uniform and civilians, who serve in difficult and dangerous places all around the world to advance the interests and the values that we hold dear as Americans.
And a lot of times their work goes unheralded, doesn't get a lot of attention, but it is vitally important. We enjoy our security and our liberty because of the sacrifices that they make. And they do an outstanding job every single day without a lot of fanfare. (Applause.)
So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice. (Applause.) I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world. No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America. (Applause.)